Media literacy is the ability to “read” mass media which represents a new and exciting approach to protecting children and adolescents from the unhealthy effects of media. It helps them to filter the information that they are constantly subjected to; to learn and distinguish between right and wrong.
The Pro-social Peer Moderator Program is one such unique initiative taken up by Fortis Hospitals, Anandapur under the aegis of Dr. Samir Parikh (Director- Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, FMRI-Gurgaon) and Dr. Sanjay Garg (Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis- Anandapur), which seeks to teach application based life –skills through the medium of interactive workshops. Held on 4th May at Fortis, Anandapur with students participating from Calcutta Public School, Calcutta International School and the Heritage School, this program conducted interactive sessions, training these students to become Peer Moderators.
Speaking on the importance of children being Peer Moderators themselves, Dr Samir Parikh said, “Through this program we train the participating children to become role models so that they can go back to their respective schools and teach their fellow classmates to ask questions and filter what is being shown by the media around the world.”
Gone are the days of face-to-face communication. The modern generation thrives on technology and social media. Internet is fodder to kids these days. However, while the Internet may bring with it various threats it is also the driver of a new, knowledge-based economy, and has radically altered the ways of modern interpersonal communication. This is exactly what the ‘The Pro-social Peer Moderator Program’ seeks to achieve. Rather than selectively exposing kids to messages from the media, it teaches them to support the adoption of healthy and adaptive behavior.
Dr Sanjay Garg says, “For this session, we have targeted the students of Class 8-12, who are more flexible and mature to understand the importance of media literacy since this is the age when kids can distinguish between right and wrong. ‘The Pro-social Peer Moderator Program’ is an unique initiative taken up by Fortis at completely zero cost, solely for the benefit of the society”.